Aillemore Court Tomb

Aillemore Court Tomb 2003 by Aiden Clarke
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aillemore_Court_Tomb_-_geograph.org.uk_-_291135.jpg

This Aillemore Court Tomb is marked on the Historic & OS Maps as ‘Cromlech.’  It is located on a steep slope that faces East, on the North – Eastern fringe of the Mweelrea Mountains also it overlooks the Bunsheenshough River towards the East.  The Tomb is orientated West North West to East South East.  The monument consists of a large gallery of 3.2 metres in length by 2 metres in width.  It opens out into a half – Court.  According to this site the Tomb had been in use as a cow – shed during the latter part of the nineteenth century until recently.  The entrance to the first chamber is marked by two erect jamb stones.  The Chamber entrance is 1.7 metres in in length & 1.5 metres in width.  A low sill stone lies across the entrance.  The second chamber measures 1.5 metres in length, it is 1.9 metres in with at the back.  The chamber also has a sill stone across the entrance.   Broken roof – stones have fallen onto the chamber floors.  The entire structure is surrounded by an elongated Cairn that is moderately intact.  The Cairn is ten metres in length, seven metres in width at the front plus it tapers towards the back of the Tomb.  The coordinates are 53 41 57. 07 897 &. 9.52 33,3 64  W.  An image of the monument is on this page. [i]

This Court Tomb at Aillemore is well – preserved, it is located eight km West – South – West of Louisburgh; near the crest of a ridge that overlooks the Valley of the Bunsheenshough River plus the monument is visible from three hundred metres West – North – West of a track.  The monument consists of a two – chambered gallery plus a smaller subsidiary chamber that is located behind the main one.  The Cairn rises to the top of the gallery – stones that are about 1.5 metres in height, sixteen metres in length also fourteen metres in width.  The Court is concealed by cairn material also field – fences.  One feature of this monument is the steeply – pitched, packed corbelling of several large slabs especially on its North side of the gallery.  Stray debris plus corbelling has obscured the subsidiary chamber.  (Sheet 37, L762738).  One may click on link to view a large image of this Court Tomb. [ii]

Near the crest of a ridge that overlooks the Valley of the Bunsheenshough River in the Louisburgh area the Aillemore Court Tomb is located.  It is visible from a track that is three hundred metres West – North – West.  The Monument consist of a two – chambered gallery with subsidiary chamber that is located behind the main one.  The Cairn rises to the top of the gallery that is approximately 1.5 metres in height sixteen metres in length also fourteen metres in width.  Cairn material plus field – fences conceal the Court.  The steeply – pitched, packed corbelling of several large slabs especially on the North side of the Tomb are an outstanding feature of Aillemore.  Corbelling plus stray debris has obscured the small subsidiary chamber.  Photos on this site include those from: Aiden Clarke 2006, Anthony Weir 2009, Oliver Dixon 2009 also Keith Salversen 2011 plus a map of area.  Coordinates of Tomb are Latitude 53.69 94 40 N Longitude 9. 87 61 13 W.  (Anthony Weir 13th October 2002) [iii]

Lying eight km West – South – West of Louisburgh plus four km West – South – West of the Srahwee Court Tomb the Aillemore Court Tomb overlooks the Valley of the Bunsheenshough River near to the crest of a ridge in the townland of Aillemore.  The enormous Tomb’s roof slabs were pulled towards one side: these had once been supported by massive steeply pitched, tightly packed stones.  Displaced Cairn material has concealed the forecourt at the entrance.  The Court Tomb itself is made up of a two – chambered gallery with a smaller subsidiary chamber behind it.  The surrounding Cairn rises 1.5 metres to the top of the gallery stones.  The Cairn is over sixteen metres in length also fourteen metres in width.  (Conor Wilson 22nd August 2019) [iv]

One type of Megalithic Tomb is the Court Cairn.  They were erected by use of large stones with Corbelled roofing.  They were characterized by a Court area at the entrance.  They contained one or more burial chambers within.  This well preserved ‘Leaba Dhiarmiad’ at Aillemore is one such monument.  It was associated with the legend of Diarmaid & Grainne. [v]

Aillemore Court Tomb is located on OS Map 762738, Sheet 37.  Coordinates are Latitude 53 41 57.07 N Longitude at 9. 52 28.88 W.  One may click on this page to view a large image of the Tomb. [vi]

The Louisburgh area has over seven hundred known Archaeological Monuments including the Aillemore Court Tomb. [vii]

Christiaan Corlett during 1999 published an article in the ‘The Journal of Irish Archaeology’ Vol 9 1998 Pages 9 – 26 Word Well Ltd.  It referred to Court Tombs were in general confined to the North half of the country including Aillemore. (ibidi, 80 – 81.)  This link has a preview of the book that may be downloaded. [viii]

Footnotes

This link has images of Aillemore Court Tomb (2008): https://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/11150/aillemore.html

One may click at bottom of page to see a painting by J. B. Yeats of unidentified Standing Stones.[ix]

Mary O ‘Malley penned an article on iCan Louisburg & Killen Heritage website that stated that; a Court Cairn Tomb on Aillemore Hill was known as ‘Leaba Diarmaid agus Grainne.’  It may be viewed at this link: http://www.louisburgh-killeenheritage.org/page_id__50_path__0p2p.aspx

This site mentions Aillemore Court Tomb among places in the Louisburgh area: https://www.louisburgh.ie/where_to_go_in_the_louisbugh_area_co_mayo_ireland-silver-strand.html

This site mentions Aillemore Tomb: https://www.irelandnorthwest.ie/Destinations/Mayo/Louisburgh/

The Aillemore Court Tomb is mentioned on this site: https://www.enjoyireland.com/mayo/main_towns/

Aillemore Court Tomb is mentioned on this PDF: https://www.archaeology.ie/sites/default/files/media/publications/smi-vol-6-text-and-plates-part-9.pdf

Bibliography

[i] Aillemore Court Tomb (http://www.megalithicmonumentsofireland.com/COUNTIES/MAYO/Aillemore_CourtTomb.html) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[ii] Aillemore Abbey (http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/mayo.htm) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[iii] Aillemore Court Tomb (https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=6333448) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[iv] Six Ancient Sites (https://www.destinationwestport.com/six-ancient-sites-to-visit-from-westport) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[v] Archaeology Louisburgh (https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/towns-villages/louisburgh/history/louisburgh-archaeology.html) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[vi] County Mayo (http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/mayo.htm) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[vii] Archaeology in County Mayo (https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/about-mayo/archaeology/archaeology-overview.html) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[viii] The Prehistoric Ritual (https://www.jstor.org/stable/30001690?seq=1) [assessed 10th February 2021]

[ix] https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/about-mayo/archaeology/archaeology-overview.html

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